BY SARA McVICKER
During the opening session of the VA’s 2008 National
Summit on Women Veterans’ Issues, which was held June
20-22 in Washington, D.C., Under Secretary for Health Michael
J. Kussman promised to make all Veterans Health Administration
(VHA) Women Veterans Program Manager positions full-time,
a goal that exceeds VVA’s Resolution WV-4-03. Kussman
also promised that VHA would establish women veterans’ clinics
at all VA Medical Centers, although no timetable was given.
In addition, he has established a work group to ensure that
every woman veteran has access to a primary-care provider
who is competent in women’s health issues.
VVA participants at the conference, held once every four
years, included Marsha Four, who chairs the VVA Women Veterans
Committee; Sandy Miller; Connie Christensen; and Sara McVicker.
complete article ]
By Ted Jorden
When Carolyn Cedillo began to experience occasional lapses
in memory, she dismissed it as a sign of advancing age.
But the memory failures became more frequent and she developed
other physical problems, including dropping things. She
grew unresponsive when spoken to and developed difficulties
with her speech. Her husband Cid took her to see their
family physician who admitted her into the hospital. She
was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Worse, the tumor was
malignant. Doctors told the family that radiation therapy
was all that could be done, and they should take her home.
The family immediately sought other doctors and hospitals
better equipped to fight this malignancy. The University
of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston agreed to
see Carolyn Cedillo and confirmed the original diagnosis.
But where previous doctors offered little hope, doctors at
M.D. Anderson suggested an aggressive course of innovative
cancer treatments. Surgery was performed, and 90 percent
of the tumor removed. Then came an aggressive regimen of
chemotherapy combined with radiation treatments. The treatment
continued for several months, but afterward the prognosis
BY MARC LEEPSON, photos by Michael Keating
When you attend a VVA National Leadership Conference, you
have to make choices. And that was certainly true with this
year’s LC, which took place July 16-19 at the Hyatt
Regency in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. With many
of the three dozen seminars offered concurrently over four
days, conferees had to prioritize. On Thursday morning at
9:00, for example, Jim Lynch, the President of Chapter 905
in Porter County, Indiana, decided to take in the two-part
Heath Care Issues seminar. It dealt with hepatitis C and
Agent Orange and birth defects. Lynch, a veteran of eight
VVA Conventions and Leadership Conferences, is mighty glad
he chose that session.
BY MICHAEL KEATING
Sometimes while serving in Iraq, Jason Mouret would be drenched
in sweat, fear clinging to him like his clothes. He would
calm himself by thinking about the advice he had been given
by someone who had seen it all, years ago.
Amid the terror and the tedium and the constant confusion,
he heard a voice that gave him insight and suggested alternate
courses of action. And when the action started and the battle
raged, he had a friend and elder brother-in-arms who whispered,
Be brave, Be strong.
This counsel and comfort came from letters from home, from
Louisiana. At first, Mouret said, “it was a shock.
My commanders looked at me like, ‘What’s up?’” The
letters were stamped “inmate correspondence.” They
were mailed from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
Bill Kissinger served at Udupai, Thailand, and at Cam Ranh
Bay in 1970-71 with the U.S. Air Force. For the past 19 years,
he has been serving time at Angola. He’s a founder
and the chair of Camp F VETS and president of VVA Chapter
By Philip Caputo
In print now for more than thirty years, it’s easy
to take Philip Caputo’s Vietnam War memoir A Rumor
of War for granted. Don’t. Powerfully written, painfully
eloquent and precise, Caputo’s book is a classic.
We asked the former Marine lieutenant if we could run an
excerpt from his book. It follows. We also asked him to write
an essay especially for The VVA Veteran. Look for it in the
Dust spots appeared where bullets pecked the earth, and
then a whorl of gray smoke rose from behind the ridgeline,
followed immediately by the flat explosion of an M-79. The
runner led me to Peterson, who was standing with studied
calm next to his radio operator. The skipper told me to put
my platoon in defilade beside a hill that stood at a right
angle to the ridge.
This we did. Tester’s platoon was in front of mine,
strung out in a long file against the hillside. Hot and winded,
we squatted to wait while 1st platoon made a frontal assault,
that quintessential Marine maneuver. It was nothing like
those choreographed attacks we had practiced at Quantico
or on Okinawa. The marines were more or less on line, bunched
into knots in some places, spread apart in others. Some men
were falling behind, some pushing out ahead and firing from
the hip. A few seemed to be scrambling hand over hand where
the slope was very steep. My imagination persuaded me that
I saw the Viet Cong on the ridgeline. If I did, I did not
see them for long. Several greenclad figures suddenly appeared
on the crest. Then I heard a rhythmic popping that recalled
the sound of a rifle range.